SEATTLE -- Seattle Sounders FC made a major announcement on Tuesday, ushering in a new era in the club's 45-year history.
The organization unveiled eleven new families that are joining the Sounders FC Ownership Group, including familiar faces like hip-hop artist Macklemore, musical superstar Ciara, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and more.
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“Today we begin another chapter in the story of Seattle Sounders FC, this proud club that means so much to so many people,” said Sounders FC Majority Owner Adrian Hanauer. “We are doubling down on this community and growing our local roots even deeper. Sounders FC was born right here in Seattle, and for more than 40 years, the club has forged a meaningful legacy that is deep and far-reaching. Today’s news is a testament to what our community has accomplished, as 11 new families have joined with the broader Sounders family as fans and invested stewards of our club.”
“This diverse, passionate group of new partners wants to continue developing the club’s community-first approach, while also furthering its proud winning tradition on the field. Collectively, we believe that Seattle is the greatest city in the world and that Sounders FC has a responsibility to both preserve our region’s unique spirit while also leading our community by fostering an environment that is inclusive and welcoming to all. On behalf of our entire Sounders family, I want to extend a proud and warm welcome to our club’s new partners.”
Founding owner Joe Roth is also announcing his departure from Sounders FC. He was an important leader behind the wildly successful MLS expansion bid and launch of the team in 2009. The club won six major trophies during his time, including the club's first MLS Cup in 2016.
Russell Wilson has made it known that he's interested in sports ownership - especially in the Pacific Northwest. He was previously a partner in an effort to build a new basketball arena in Seattle and has also been part of the project in Portland, Oregon, to build a baseball stadium in the hopes of luring an MLB team to the city.
“I think after I’m done playing there’s a lot that I want to do. Obviously, I want to own teams," Wilson told Q13 News in an exclusive interview this summer. "You know, own potentially a basketball team, a soccer team, a football team, a baseball team, those types of things. I love sports, I love organizations, I love culture. I love being around people. I love success, I love winning. I love being around it. And those are always great experiences for me, so I want to be able to impact people’s lives that way and fans and everything else.”
The Sounders FC listed the new family owners in a news release:
Russell Wilson & Ciara – Grammy Award-winning singer / songwriter Ciara and husband Russell Wilson, six-time NFL Pro Bowler and Super Bowl-winning quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks, have made the Pacific Northwest their home and join the Sounders FC Ownership Group as they solidify their dedication to Seattle and the power of sports in the community.
Soma & Akila Somasegar – Excited to join the Sounders FC community, Soma and Akila Somasegar bring a variety of technology, finance and philanthropic experience to the Rave Green. Formerly a senior executive at Microsoft, Soma Somasegar is currently a venture capitalist that serves as Managing Director of Madrona Venture Group. Akila Somasegar, a former finance professional, is a philanthropist serving on several local and international nonprofit boards.
David & Sabina Nathanson – David and Sabina Nathanson come to the Sounders FC Ownership Group, bringing David’s extensive background in entertainment, television and broadcast rights. Nathanson previously served as Head of Business Operations for FOX Sports Media Group and Chief Operating Officer & General Manager of FS1 and FS2, in addition to overseeing all of FOX’s global and domestic soccer properties. As part of those efforts, Nathanson oversaw FOX’s successful bid for the 2018, 2022 and 2026 FIFA World Cup rights. He is an investor and board member of NHL Seattle, and also serves on the Board of Directors for the U.S. Soccer Foundation, the Over Under Initiative and Fan Duel Group.
Satya & Anu Nadella – Current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and his wife Anu join the Sounders FC Ownership Group looking forward to a continued investment in the region.
Terry & Katie Myerson – Driving forces behind the new Seattle-focused Ownership Group, Terry and Katie Myerson are longtime Sounders FC fans who are looking forward to achieving new heights with the Rave Green. Terry Myerson was formerly Executive Vice President of Windows and Devices at Microsoft, now with Madrona Venture Group and the Carlyle Group.
Brian McAndrews & Elise Holschuh – Brian McAndrews is a seasoned veteran of the entertainment and media industries, having served as CEO of Pandora, CEO of aQuantive, Senior Vice President of Microsoft Advertising and Publishing Solutions, Executive Vice President of ABC Television Production and Executive Vice President & General Manager of ABC Sports. Elise Holschuh retired from a marketing career and currently serves on the strategy committee of Hugo House and, until recently, was Chair of the Board for local non-profit Path with Art.
Macklemore & Tricia Davis – Grammy Award-winning hip hop artist Macklemore and his wife Tricia Davis are Seattle natives, with the duo proudly joining the Ownership Group of their hometown Sounders FC.
Amy Hood & Max Kleinman – As Chief Financial Officer at Microsoft, Amy Hood leads the company’s worldwide finance organization. She and her husband, Max Kleinman, a former partner at Accenture, proudly join their hometown club.
Chee & Christine Chew – Chee and Christine Chew join the Sounders FC Ownership Group with extensive backgrounds in the region, as Chee currently serves as Chief Product Officer at Twilio following time at Amazon, Google (Seattle / Kirkland) and Microsoft. Christine Chew has served on the Bellevue School Board since 2010 and is currently Board President. She also serves on the board of Amplio, and was previously the Executive Director of College Access Now, both Seattle-based nonprofits.
Joe & Kristina Belfiore – Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President in the Experiences and Devices division at Microsoft, and his wife, Kristina, who serves on the Board of Trustees for both Rainier Scholars and Seattle Day Country School, are excited to expand their commitment to the Puget Sound region by joining the Sounders FC Ownership Group.
Mark & Tomoko Agne – Mark Agne is currently a Managing Partner at Softbank Investment Advisors. Prior to Softbank, he was a partner at Goldman Sachs, with extensive experience in various senior leadership roles throughout Asia. Agne joins the Sounders FC Ownership Group alongside his wife, Tomoko.
The new partners joined the existing Sounders FC Ownership Group which includes:
Adrian Hanauer – The club’s Majority Owner, Adrian Hanauer has been involved with the Sounders franchise since 2001, when the team played in the United Soccer League. His passion, dedication and vision helped bring Major League Soccer to Seattle in the form of Seattle Sounders FC in 2009, and he has continued to lead the way, seeing the club to the highest winning percentage in MLS since entering the league, along with six major championships over the past decade.
Drew Carey – A passionate driver of the club’s Democracy in Sports pillar, Drew Carey is an original member of the Sounders FC Ownership Group. The stand-up comic turned actor and producer is regarded as one of American soccer’s most recognizable supporters.
Jody Allen – Representing Vulcan Sports and Entertainment within Sounders FC’s Ownership Group following the passing of Paul Allen last fall, Jody Allen continues her role leading with a focus on philanthropy and conservation.
Paul Barry – Originally from Cambridge, England, Paul Barry has spent 26 years in the Pacific Northwest building businesses primarily in the travel sphere, as well as raising a family in the region. Barry joined the USL Sounders in 2000 as part of the club’s Ownership Group, and has remained a constant presence within the organization since that time. He is also an Owner of Cambridge United in the English Football League.
Lenore Hanauer – In addition to being part of Sounders FC’s Ownership Group, Lenore Hanauer is also a partner of National Women’s Soccer League side Reign FC. She is an active local philanthropist with a focus on the arts and environmental issues.